Newly required filing fees do not “unreasonably burden minor-party candidates” ruled a panel of the Fourteenth Court of Appeals. The decision overturns a temporary injunction issued in December that prevented state and county officials from enforcing the requirement.
Prior to this year, only Democratic and Republican candidates paid the fees as a means of financing the party’s primary elections. They also have the option of submitting petitions and a sufficient number of signatures instead. Those fees did not previously apply to Libertarian and Green Party candidates, who are nominated for their general election candidates by conventions. House Bill 2504 by Rep. Drew Springer (R-Muenster) imposed those filing fees on minor-party candidates and also provided an option to submit a petition and signatures instead.
Neal Dikeman, the Libertarian nominee for U.S. Senate in 2018, and other current and former Libertarian candidates filed this suit and a related federal suit last year.
“The state’s interests in preventing voter confusion, ballot overcrowding or the presence of frivolous candidacies by requiring candidates to show they have a modicum of support” is not unconstitutional, wrote Justice Megan Hassan. “We hold that these legitimate interests are sufficient to outweigh the burdens imposed” by the new requirements.
Forty-four of the Libertarian Party’s candidates and six of nine Green Party candidates nominated at their respective conventions did not pay the filing fees after relying on the temporary injunction. A lawsuit filed by Democrats successfully removed three Green Party candidates from the ballot over failure to pay the fees or submit signatures. A lawsuit filed by Republicans to remove the 44 Libertarians was dismissed because it was filed too late, and the Texas Supreme Court denied a follow-up suit earlier this week.
A related federal case is scheduled for a July 2021 trial.
©2020 Texas Election Source LLC